oris Johnson has been slammed for raising the introduction of free travel for the over-60s in response to a 77-year-old London pensioner’s cost of living struggles.
In a clash with ITV Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid on Tuesday, Mr Johnson’s first with the programme for 1,791 days, the Prime Minister attempted to defend the Government’s response to surging energy bills after hearing the plight of a 77-year-old woman.
Reid referenced the story of Elsie, who has been forced to eat one meal a day due to rising costs and rides the bus all day in order to avoid having to pay for heating for her home.
She told the Prime Minister that the 77-year-old’s energy bills have rise from £17 a month to £85 a month, costing her an extra £800 a year.
Reid added: “To cut down on spending, Elsie has resorted to eating one meal a day. She’s losing weight, she’s 77.
“She goes to the supermarket at the end of the day to buy yellow sticker discounted item.
“She gets up early in the morning to use her Freedom bus pass to stay on buses all day to avoid using energy at home.
“What else should Elise cut back on?”
In response Mr Johnson said: “I just want to remind you, the 24 hour freedom bus pass was something I introduced.”
While the Prime Minister did not introduce the freedom pass, he did introduce the 60+ Concessionary Travel Scheme.
The scheme covers those over 60 who do not qualify for the Freedom Pass, which is only eligible as per the age of retirement.
Mr Johnson insisted that the government was doing “everything that we can” to help people with rising gas and electricity prices. But after being presented with details of Ms Elsie’s plight, Mr Johnson said he accepted that there was “more we can do”.
In the aftermath of the Prime Minister’s comments, Chris Bryant, Labour MP for the Rhondda said: “Basically Boris Johnson has absolutely nothing to say to Elsie.
“Or anyone else facing the Tory cost of living crisis.”
Brian Paddick, Lib Dems spokesman for the House of Lords said: “Dreadful answer & Tory government forced TfL to stop 24 hr older people’s bus pass use before 9am.”
Mike Ward said on Twitter after hearing the interview: “I really hope that the answer that Boris Johnson gave to Susanna Reid about Elsie becomes the moment! Absolutely appalling in every single way possible!”
Rachel Love-Howseman said: “He had not a single answer for her.
“And seemingly no empathy either if his first thought was ‘I did that’ about her having to ride buses all day to keep warm.”
In order to try and aid Britons, the Government has introduced a £150 council tax debate to help with rising bills.